Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cupid's New House

Our barn has build a new shed in Cupid's pasture.  Even though he's in the barn at night, hopefully he will enjoy it if he wants shelter from sun or rain.
Cupid and I have had some great rides since returning from the horse park!

Last week we experimented with a German martingale.  My trainer thought it would be helpful for me getting Cupid on the bit - she said he was really good when she rode him and is seeking out the contact but I'm just too used to riding on a long rein!  We had it on the loosest setting, and I don't know if it was because of the German martingale or not but we had a really great flatwork session.  We rode in the outdoor (dressage) ring and Cupid was nice and forward, and good in his shoulder fores and leg yields.

Our second lesson last week had a little added excitement.  We started off well, with our warm up and flatwork, then jumped a crossrail a few times each direction.  Then we were going to do a little course of jumps, and midway through someone walked in with their crazy horse and let it out on the longe line and it started bucking!  Many facilities don't allow longing while there are riders in the arena; ours does (however is building a round pen to hopefully reduce this) but, in my opinion it is pretty rude to start while someone is mid-course!  Cupid spooked and took a few running steps; we were supposed to go by a jump combination but amid the chaos when I was trying to pull Cupid up I almost ended up crashing us into a jump!  I was a little shaken up.  Even though I didn't really want to jump after that, we jumped our first jump a few times and called it a day.  I'm glad I didn't fall off and no one got hurt; my trainer said it is a good learning experience as we will sometimes have to be around crazy horses (or rude people...)  I am learning, even if Cupid spooks if I just sit up he will listen and settle down. :)

During the weekend we just went on a nice little ride around the property.  On Monday I rode in the covered arena after work, and had to quit when it was starting to get dark and hard to see!  Unfortunate reminder that summer is over, and that I have to turn on the arena light before I ride!

Our first lesson this week focused on our jumping technique.  We just did a single fence and adjusted it: first a crossrail with a bounce pole on each side to help us with our rhythm.  Sometimes I feel like a pole can throw us off but Cupid met it pretty much perfectly each time!  
Then we worked on a bit of big crossrail, to help force me to be straight and also to get Cupid lifting his knees.

Finally we did a square oxer, I think maybe about 2'3", which was to get us both used to staying in the air longer!
I was super happy with Cupid, he was perfect!

In our second lesson, we started with our usual warm-up/flatwork.  Cupid was being a little lazy again, so my trainer had us work on shortening and lengthening the stride first at a trot then canter.
Then we warmed up over a crossrail, and went on to a one stride combination.  It was a bit of a tricky turn towards the first jump, we were trotting in from a left rein but there was a jump in the way so had to do pretty much a right angle to get their straight.  This was a really good exercise for me as I usually overshoot my turns!  With just one jump I can kind of get away with it (though I know it's wrong, and my trainer points it out too!) but with the combo I could really feel the difference and how much it helped going in straight.
One stride combo; started as 2 crossrails and gradually built the second one up into a square oxer
Then we did a little course, starting with the combination, then continuing around the arena at a left lead canter and jumping a vertical on the diagonal.  Then continue on the diagonal and kind of figure-eight back towards the green and blue crossrail.  For some reason this crossrail gave us the most trouble!  The first time around Cupid took off very long, and made a huge leap over it!  I was caught by surprise.  We did the last two jumps over, and I thought I was sitting up to the last jump but again we had a bit of a long spot, not nearly as bad but still not ideal.  We did the course again, and were still a little long on the last jump.  I'm not sure if it was the short turn going into it or because it was heading towards the gate?  But I told my trainer I would canter over a pole this weekend to help with my eye and for us to work on our striding.  But overall I was really happy with Cupid, he remained relaxed and we were able to canter our little course (with some simple changes along the way).
Last two jumps; vertical on the diagonal and back around to the crossrail

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